Treadmill Buyers Guide

You love to walk, run, climb, swim, cycle, and put yourself to the test whenever it comes to the physical or the extreme. You love to compete, to sweat, and to push yourself, but most of all you love to triumph. At XTERRA, we know how you feel.

Our products lend the XTERRA Advantage to your training, providing the edge you need in order to achieve your health and fitness goals. The XTERRA Advantage is more than just an idea—it's something that you feel in your body, something that carries you down the path and up the mountain, and it's something that fits right in your own home.

At XTERRA, we have carefully designed our treadmills and ellipticals to provide the advanced training and unsurpassed durability that you need in order to obtain a lifetime of health and fitness. And with quality engineering backed by unmatched warranties and customer service, you can start your adventure knowing that XTERRA will always be there to help you cross the finish line.

Success comes through proper preparation. Let XTERRA bring it home.

The XTERRA Advantage

XTERRA products are superior to other treadmills marketed today in three important ways:

  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Consistency
Types of Treadmills

Treadmills come in several varieties, including manual, folding, and motorized. These are the most common types, but there are also some other options, including gym-quality treadmills as well as elliptical treadmills. Which treadmill is best for you depends on a number of factors, such as how much space you have to accommodate it and what your fitness goals happen to be, but perhaps the most important question involves how much you can spend. While some people automatically assume that the most expensive name in the market must be the best one, the reality is that there are more affordable machines available that provide everything you need for a substantial workout along with the durability to make your investment in health last a lifetime. Forget all of the bells and whistles touted by the overpriced brands—XTERRA treadmills are the best option for anyone seeking the means to obtain an outstanding level of health and conditioning at an affordable price.

Manual Treadmill

Manual treadmills are activated by walking, and if the user wants to adjust the incline to increase the intensity of the workout, it is necessary to get off the treadmill and change the incline manually. Manual treadmills are generally less expensive than their motorized counterparts, and because walking activates the treadmill and standing still will deactivate the treadmill, it is a safe option for seniors. This type of treadmill can get somewhat difficult to use though, as the user's stride needs to be consistent, and as the manual treadmill is powered by the user, fatigue can start to set in quite easily.

Folding Treadmill

A folding treadmill is a great space-saving feature on many treadmills and allows for easy storage, moving, and maintenance. This type of treadmill can be folded up for storage, which is an extremely convenient feature for buyers who don't want their treadmills to take up a great deal of space, especially if they live in an apartment.

This feature applies to all XTERRA treadmills, and our soft-drop and easy folding features have been tested for many thousands of hours to insure proper fold and unfold.

Motorized Treadmill

Motorized treadmills are typically more expensive than manual treadmills, but motorized treadmills offer a number of features that the very basic manual treadmills do not, such as advanced training programs and automatic incline adjustment. When choosing a motorized treadmill, a buyer should consider the power of the motor, the size of the running surface, and the nature of the incline.

All XTERRA treadmills are motorized treadmills!

Safety First

Let's get the disclaimers out of the way to start the process of understanding the "do's and don'ts" of treadmills being sold today.

Always consult your physician before starting any workout program. Never use your treadmill without having your safety key attached to your workout gear. If there is no safety key on your treadmill, do not buy the product.

Peak Duty

Represents a maximum motor output for a moment in time. Because treadmills do not perform to this maximum output moment, the peak motor rating is irrelevant to treadmills. Treadmills that display a peak rating are attempting to confuse consumers by displaying a larger number.

Continuous Duty

In the fitness industry, continuous duty represents a continuous level of operation with intermittent loading. The intermittent loading is represented by the foot striking, and then being moved along the belt and deck. Most fitness companies use continuous duty to rate their motors. When shopping for a treadmill it is recommended to look for continuous duty ratings. All XTERRA treadmills display continuous duty motor ratings. Although there does not seem to be consensus on how powerful the motor should be, it is recommended to get at least a 2 to 2.5 horsepower continuous duty motor if the treadmill be used for running.

Did you know?

Running or walking at 3MPH at 3 degrees of elevation is the equivalent of running or walking at 5 MPH without any incline. Inclines are extremely helpful tools for your workout regimen.

Auto treadmill inclines are designed to have an incline of as much 10 to 40 degrees and tend to be more expensive than typical motorized treadmills are. As in the example mentioned above, inclining treadmills are perfect for those who wish to be able to train over varying gradients.

One serious problem with having an incline over 15 degrees is a mechanical anomaly called "over-revving." Over-revving is caused when the user's weight/downward pressure exceeds the desired speed called for on the exercise, meaning your body weight in effect becomes the motor, and your treadmill becomes a manual treadmill due to the severe incline of the treadmill. Over-revving causes havoc to the electronics of your machine. All XTERRA Treadmills are built to reduce or eliminate over-revving. You will never find our products with more than a 15-degree elevation—again, forward thinking from the XTERRA Advantage.


All treadmills have a different console display, so be sure to choose one that best fits your needs. The console display can keep track of distance covered, pace, carbs burned, time spent exercising, heart rate, and more. You can also choose a console that provides comfort, entertainment and motivation during your workout, such as a connection for an iPod or MP3 player, speakers, and a cooling fan. XTERRA treadmills offer all of these along with another great feature: speed and incline controls in the handlebars for adding or reducing speed or incline in those moments when your workout is charging forward and reaching for the console isn't an option.

Electronic Programming

You can get too many bells and whistles, and you pay very nicely for them in the purchase. The XTERRA Advantage offers the right programming for the maximum effect; thus, no need for additional programming.

Most treadmills have a variety of programming options. These options automatically vary the intensity of the workout by simulating running up and down hills. Of course, the user can also make manual adjustments to speed, incline, and other factors. It's important to know most pre-program packages are "canned," meaning your workout is predefined by an algorithm standard based on a 5' 11", 180-pound man. If you find a treadmill that allows you to customize your predefined workout, you are in luck. All XTERRA machines provide you with the chance to customize a program that is designed by you and for you. Check out our Trail Racer XTERRA 6.8.

Treadmill Belt Sizes

It is important to choose a treadmill belt size that provides you with the space you need to accommodate your workout. Not only does your stride matter, but also your intentions with the treadmill. Those purchasing a treadmill for walking will get what they need with a shorter belt, while those who are joggers or runners will need a longer and wider tread belt.

While many manufactures offer several sizes and belt lengths, a 20" belt width is recommended for most users. It is very important to note that if you are taller, you need a longer belt. It's also important to remember that each of us runs differently. Running is unique to the individual. We all drift from side to side as we run. The 20" belt compensates for this drift factor. Lower-quality treadmills will offer 16-, 17-, and 18-inch belt widths: Buyer beware.

Special Note:

Remember to look for a quality belt with 2 ply of rubber and a minimum of 1 ply cotton with 1 ply of nylon that drags along the surface of the running deck. The reason—friction— specifically, the reduction of friction. Why? Friction in the death of any treadmill, and the less friction there is, the longer the life of your product. Cheap treadmills usually have very high friction drag coefficients (drag between the foot strike, on the belt, and the direct foot strike "pressure" on the deck. This creates friction. The amount of friction is naturally based on the weight of the user).

Treadmill Decks

This is the foundation of your treadmill. Most of the top treadmill manufacturers are using 3/4"–1"-thick decks that are typically mounted on elastomer rubber grommets on top of the steel frame. The use of rubber grommets is designed to isolate the deck from the frame and to absorb the impact of running on the deck, giving you a feeling of running on sand with the stability of ankle support. Although decks are not the most expensive component, they can be very expensive to replace, as doing so requires a few hours of labor to completely disassemble and break the machine down to the base frame. Because belts and decks are designed to wear out at about the same time, if you do ever need to change your deck, you should also change the tread belt at the same time. To make sure that your deck lasts, each XTERRA machine features an outstanding warranty on the deck, parts, and in-home labor.


The deck and tread belt on a quality treadmill usually last for a few thousand hours of use. Quality treadmill decks are covered with a surface similar to Formica. This Formica-type surface reduces friction and heat generated from foot strike from the user to the tread belt.


Cushioning reduces the impact of exercise on your joints. This is incredibly important in preventing discomfort and injury. Cushion percentage refers to the amount of impact reduction compared with a hard surface such as a sidewalk or road. Too much cushioning can cause turned ankles, while too little can cause shin splints or knee and hip damage over time. Again, the XTERRA Advantage has the runner in mind here. Soft enough for comfort, yet firm enough to prevent ankle sprain or long-term knee and hip damage.


Rollers to a treadmill are like rims to a car, and XTERRA rollers are manufactured from the highest-quality components to ensure that runners experience a smooth workout. The most commonly used rollers in the industry are 2.5" steel rollers with a bearing pressed into each end. Those bearings are far more important than the roller itself is. Some manufacturers use slightly crowned rollers to help the running belt stay centered. Look for a treadmill with plastic covers that protect the roller bearings from dust and dirt, which will eventually cause failure. No maintenance or lubrication is necessary for high-quality treadmill rollers such as those used by XTERRA.


A motorized treadmill is an electronic piece of equipment. If you have electronic malfunctions, they most commonly will present themselves in the first sixty days of usage.

A quality machine is a long-term investment that, with regular use, will require service at some point. Just as your automobile needs its oil changed every three thousand miles, your XTERRA treadmill deck and belt will need to have a lubrication schedule every thousand hours. It’s very simple and takes about five minutes. (More on lubrication schedule and procedures).

XTERRA offer a lifetime warranty on the frame. When it comes to other components, we provides for at least 1 year of in-home labor and a minimum of 1–3 years of coverage on parts.

When it comes to outstanding warranties and customer service, the XTERRA Advantage goes above and beyond. With many treadmill companies today, you get your service from a call center not affiliated with any one manufacturer. With XTERRA you will be talking to the factory, not some call center. We design the product, deliver the product, and service our own products from our actual factory in Jonesboro, Arkansas.


Simply put, XTERRA brings home everything you need to obtain the level conditioning necessary for you to achieve your health and fitness goals. With the power of unrivaled engineering coupled with unmatched durability, XTERRA ensures that your adventure is just beginning.

Peace of mind

Remember, we offer a 60-day money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the XTERRA Advantage.